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5-Minute Mizeria Polish Cucumber Salad Recipe That Tastes Like Poland!

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Mizeria in a white bowl.
Mizeria cucumber salad

Mizeria is one of the most popular Polish dinner salads that everyone loves! Fast and easy to make, this Polish cucumber salad recipe goes perfectly with meaty dinners.

There is a period during the summer that Poles call  “cucumber season“.  Apart from the fact, that is the actual cucumber harvesting season, the phrase has also another meaning.  It is this time of the year when things get slow and quiet,  most people are on holiday, nothing s on TV, nothing is happening in politics, no ongoing projects at work. 

The cucumbers become the only topic worth attention. And when the cucumber season is on, it can only mean one thing- it’s time to start using babcia’s mizeria recipe as often as possible.

There s no summer without mizeria, for many Poles, this is the taste of the summer school break.

Mizera, a popular Polish cucumber salad recipe is super easy. It takes literally 5 minutes to make the Polish cucumber sour cream salad. All you need are cucumbers, sour cream, and salt.

Who Invented Mizeria Recipe?

There are two different legends about the invention of this Polish cucumber salad sour cream dish.

The first legend says that Queen Bona Sforza brought mizeria to Poland. When she married Polish King Sigismund I, the Italian princess was homesick. She had brought her own cooks with her and they introduced Poland to new Italian vegetables such as carrots and also to dishes such as mizeria.

The second legend is that the mizeria recipe was invented by peasants using ingredients that were easily available to them, namely cucumbers and buttermilk or cream. And to reflect the misery that the peasants lived in, the dish was called mizeria meaning misery.

No one really knows which of these legends is true, but this Polish cucumber salad is a big part of Polish culture to date!

How To Make Mizeria Polish Cucumber Salad?

Some people make mizeria with only cucumbers. Others choose to add:

I am happy with the first two but I think it’s pointless to add vinegar or lemon juice and sugar to mizeria. It doesn’t really enrich the taste but only makes the dish more calorific.

Fresh cucumbers and salt are all you need to make mizeria tasty!

fresh cucumbers.
Fresh cucumbers
Mizeria in a white bowl.
Mizeria cucumber salad

What To Serve Mizeria With?

The answer is simple: Polish cucumber salad is traditionally served as a dinner/lunch salad. It means you can have it with any kind of meat and fish, and of course – mashed potatoes. 

Some dishes that go well with mizeria cucumber salad are:

Tips For Making Polish Cucumber Salad

Make it watery or solid.

The most important step of making mizeria is seasoning the cucumbers with salt and waiting for a while. It will make the cucumbers release some juices.

Some housewives throw out the juices so that they get the solid consistency of mizeria. Others add sour cream to the cucumber and its juices to make the salad more watery.

I am on the second team – for me, cucumber juice is not only delicious but also healthy, so it would be such a waste to throw it away.

Polish Mizeria cucumber salad.
Polish cucumber salad mizeria is cool and refreshing!

Choose smaller cucumbers.

Mizeria is a simple salad, but of a delicious taste, and the quality of a cucumber does matter. Choose medium-sized, hard cucumbers. and the salad will be nice and crunchy.

If you have bigger cucumbers, cut them first in half in length and then slice them up. 

Mizeria tastes best when served fresh.

You should serve mizeria right after making it. Slice cucumbers, which are more time-consuming a little ahead of time, and leave them sprinkled with salt and carry on with the meal preparation.

This will also allow time for them to release the waters. I always slice the cucumbers right after I set the potatoes to boil, but the sour cream and chopped dill I only add as the last thing to do just before serving. 

Even though it’s still edible after a few hours, the taste is much worse. For me, the cucumber salad is inedible the following day, however, technically, there is nothing wrong with it, when it comes to nutritional values. It’s just the taste that is different.

More Polish Cucumber Salad Recipe Tips:

  • If using younger cucumbers, you don’t need to peel them. 
  • If you run the tines of a fork along the outside of the cucumber before cutting it, it gets a nice crinkle effect.
  • The chopped dill is optional.
  • You can refrigerate the mizeria salad for about 20 to 30 minutes before serving. It tastes really good cold! 
  • You can replace the sour cream with yogurt to make it less calorific. 
  • If you want mizeria to taste really different, add some chopped radish. 
  • You can sprinkle the mizeria with ground black pepper and a dash of olive oil if you wish.
  • You might also like this creamy cucumber soup recipe.
  • You can add shallot or spring onions to mizeria, it will give it a different taste. 

FAQs About Mizeria Polish Cucumber Salad 

Which Vinegar Should I Use In The Salad?

You don’t need to add vinegar to the salad. But if you want a more tangy Polish cucumber salad, vinegar choices are white vinegar or apple cider vinegar. Alternatively, you can use lemon juice.

Do I Have To Remove The Seeds From The Cucumber?

There is no need to remove the seeds from the cucumber. They are edible. However, if you don’t like seeds, there is an easy way to get rid of them. Cut the cucumber into four, and the seeds will be easy to remove

How Long Can You Store Mizeria?

Mizeria can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Serve straight from the fridge. It’s best not to freeze mizeria as the salad will lose its texture and the cucumbers will get translucent and mushy.  

Authentic Mizeria Polish Cucumber Salad Recipe

Yield: 6 servings

5-Minute Mizeria Polish Cucumber Salad Recipe That Tastes Like Poland!

Polish Mizeria cucumber salad.

Mizeria is one of the most popular Polish dinner salads that everyone loves! Fast and easy to make in just 5 minutes, this Polish cucumber salad recipe goes perfectly with meaty dinners.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes


  • 1.3 lb of fresh cucumber
  • 1 cup of sour cream
  • a handful of chopped fresh dill
  • salt


  1. Peel the cucumbers and cut it into thin slices. You can use a grater.
  2. Season the cucumbers with salt and leave for at least 5 minutes (they will release the juices).
  3. Wash and finely chop the dill.
  4. If you want mizeria to be watery, add sour cream right away. If not, drain the cucumbers and add the sour cream afterward.
  5. Add a pinch of black pepper for taste.
  6. Add the dill. Eat fresh!


The dill is not a necessity. You can skip it.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 95Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 117mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 1gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

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2 Responses

  1. I remember this from my childhood. My grandmother also made one with wilted iceberg lettuce. She always used vinegar in both but mostly to just rinse off the salt.

  2. My husband is Polish and his Mom taught me some of her favorite recipes. This is one of them. When his sisters visit they ask me to cook some of the recipes for them.

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